Interview – R.S. Belcher
Besides my work as a journalist, freelance writer and editor for the past 10 years, I have been a private investigator, disc jockey, owner of several comic book and game stores.
I have degrees in Justice and Risk Administration, Psychology and Criminal Law. I was an intern on the Occult Crimes Task Force which was part of the Virginia Crime Commission of the Virginia General Assembly and have done work towards a Masters in Forensic Science at The George Washington University
I won the Star Trek Strange New Worlds contest in 2006, and my short story, “Orphans” was published in Strange New Worlds 9 by Simon and Schuster. I also have a short story in the current horror anthology, “Deep Cuts” that just released.
Wow, that’s an impressive list! I myself am quite interested in Forensic Science, so I’m impressed 😉
It still feels like a dream I’m going to wake up from. I started with the idea for a Wild West town where everyone had some kind of dark secret back in the 1990’s. Kind of a western Twin Peaks. The original idea was to have the sheriff crossing the 40-mile desert and getting his job as sheriff, but I decided to give the reader the character of Jim as a fairly normal point of reference. I really began working on the book in earnest in 2007.
I had no idea I would be published, I hoped- every writer does that, but it took me completely by surprise when I got the offer from Tor. I called my girlfriend at the time, she screamed in joy for about 15 minutes. I called my mom, she cried. I went to a few bookstores on publication day for “The Six-Gun Tarot” and it feels so weird to see my name. It feels great, but very surreal. I’m very thankful.
Has being an author always been your dream job?
Yes. I used to draw and write comics and stories when I was nine- I sold them to my mother’s customers for a quarter. At 13, mom bought me an electric typewriter. I have loved storytelling for as long as I can remember and I love the feedback I get from others on my stories- good or bad. I’ve done a lot of things, had a lot of careers, but writing was always there, is always here.
Why did you choose a Western theme? And in addition, why Fantasy?
I love westerns; there is something, intrinsically bad-ass and liberating about cowboys and the West; about the era of carrying your fate on your hip in a holster. I liked the idea of a mining town with so many secrets. I actually felt I was writing a horror novel, but looking back, there is a whole lot in” The Six-Gun Tarot” that falls under fantasy. In my mind I was writing my dark-ity-dark-dark horror western though.
There are a lot of genres mixed in this book (taken from your facebook page: Horror, Western, Steampunk, Lovecraftian horror, Occult, Magic, Nameless Terrors, Angels, Devils). Was it difficult to balance all these themes to make a perfect whole?
My editor, the very talented Greg Cox, paid me a complement– he said, when he first read the book, he was amazed that I kept adding characters, and was keeping all these plot elements in the air and making sense.
There were times it was hard to visualize how some elements fit together, to keep straight who was where and who was doing what, when. I tried as best I could to ignore classic tropes and just write the story, and most importantly—the characters, and let the chips fall where they may. I don’t like being pigeonholed into a single genre. I write what I think is fun and what interests me (and I have pretty broad interests) and what seems right to the rhythm of the story.
I do. I’m working on a sequel for The Six-Gun Tarot, and I’m working on this dark urban noir fantasy, with a working title of “The Greenway”. The “Greenway” is going to be a cross between noir detective fiction, like Raymond Chandler, with supernatural elements like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books, then throw in “the Story of O” and “Pulp Fiction”. I’m trying to write a supernatural crime/ fetish novel… Hahahahaha, like I said; I don’t like being stuck in one genre.I have ideas for several more Golgotha novels- set in the universe of “The Six-Gun Tarot”. I hope I get the chance to write them all.